Reading out loud can be a daunting task for some children. Whether it be fear, worry, anxiety, intimidation; there are many reasons why children find reading out loud to be a scary task. However, reading out loud should not be so scary as it is a wonderful way to share stories and joy with everyone! That is why a lot of libraries have taken to having events where kids can read to dogs.
One way that helps children get better at reading out loud is by practicing. “Practice makes perfect” as the saying goes. However, practicing with people can be anxiety-inducing and even scary. Beyond trying to figure out how to pronounce words, children worry about their peers judging them for not being able to read, disappointing their teacher, and a number of other worries. This is why reading to dogs is a fantastic way to help kids practice reading out loud.
Dogs provide a non-judgmental and avid listener to the children. They don’t care if you stumble over a word or judge how you read. Instead, they’ll lay there, relax, and listen to whoever is reading! In addition to being non-judgmental, if there is anxiety surrounding the act of reading out loud, the dogs can help with that. Reading to dogs can foster enthusiasm and confidence in children with their reading abilities.
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In addition to being able to practice reading, kids enjoy being around dogs. For those families that don’t or can’t have pets, this is a great opportunity that provides educational benefits, along with emotional benefits, and lots of fun! It also helps kids practice interacting with animals.
The dogs that read in libraries are certified therapy dogs which means that they have gone through rigorous training and are registered. They have been tested, trained and been determined to have the right skills and temperament to be therapy dogs. So there is little need to worry about misbehaving dogs. Besides that, it also means they are able to help kids work through their anxiety and fear by being a calming presence, using the skills they have learned in training.
If you want to see an example of kids reading to dogs or read more about it, there are a lot of YouTube videos and articles on it. It is so heartwarming! Or check with your local library to see if there are kids reading to dog events soon.
Sovann Hyde is an intern at Cardinal Rule Press and studying at Michigan State University. She enjoys writing and reading in her free time as well as gaming with friends. Jetta, Gryffin, and Bella, her family’s dogs and cat, keep her energetic and curious.